T he words Home and Hearth evoke images of the family dog snoozing comfortably by the fireside, piping hot homemade desserts piled high on pristine china plates, steamy hot tea steeping to perfection and traditional holiday decorations striking a festive chord. And though this issue of Beyond the Acorn delivers stories on all of those tried and true themes, we’ve also ventured way outside the box this time.
Our featured home is a whimsical and definitely one-of-a-kind work of art. Artist Darlene Graeser and her husband John have evolved their home over the years, gradually transforming it from a typical ranch style house into a playful wonderland. To visit Brillig Manor is something like a trip to a grown-up amusement park (don’t miss the 40’x40’ Monopoly board floor with its larger-than-life shoe and iron play pieces.) Just minutes after meeting Darlene at home I found myself asking if I could take a shower in her wildly unique guest bathroom. (I don’t think I was seriously asking, but then again it’s the kind of place that brings out the unexpected in you.)
Our other home feature focuses on an enclave of mid-century modern houses built in the 1950s and ’60s that reflect the clean, angular design of that era. Today the Eichler homes, named after their builder, are once again commanding attention as artful, functional and simply elegant.
Then there’s our tastefully sweet story on holiday desserts. A special ‘thank you’ to our readers who heeded the call to submit family favorites. Putting together that story was particularly yummy. A thank you to those of you who baked your recipes for us to photograph and a thank you to those of you who didn’t (it meant we got to make—and enjoy—them).
We meet several inspirational people in this issue. One of them, Sonny Mone, is a well-known musician who has put his love of horses to particularly good use. He runs an equestrian riding program for disabled children and adults on the Brandeis campus in Simi Valley.
And don’t miss our first-person story of a man’s quest to move a 120-year-old house from Oxnard to Camarillo. His pet project may seem a bit foolhardy but is ultimately a wonderful tribute to valuing and preserving the past.
Putting together this issue of the magazine was by far the most fun I’ve had since venturing Beyond the Acorn. I can only imagine what we’ll dream up for our next issue, Building a Better You, on your doorstep in January.
Leslie Gregory Haukoos